Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Thief Read Along Final Discussion: Parts 7 to the End, and a Giveaway!


And already (or should I say finally!) our Book Thief read along has come to an end! I hope all those who have participated have enjoyed the fun, both those reading for the first time and those re-reading. It's a great book, is it not?

Today, the discussion is being hosted by Kathy from Read This Instead. She has some great questions, and so here they are with my answers. Beware: some spoilers ahead!


1. How did you feel when Max had to leave the Hubermanns? What did you expect would happen to him?


That was crazy sad and and of course I thought it was over for him. I had no idea what he would figure out to do ore where he would. One thing is for sure, he's one strong dude.

2. Why do you think Liesel ran out to Max when they finally did cross paths, even after she had seen what happened to Hans earlier in the book?

Because the power of her love and concern for him totally outweighed the fear of what might happen. Though I do think that even if she wasn't scared for herself, she should have considered the consequences for him! But anyway, I think it was worth it for both of them that they got some contact. What a sad scene though. Ugh.

3. What did you think of Death spoiling the ending a couple chapters before it actually happened? Did the warning make it easier to handle?

Not really, no matter how much we knew what was going to happen, it was still hard. And always always always, I hope that it will end a different way. The first time I read it, I hoped that somehow, something would happen to make Death's predictions not be right.

4. Which death impacted you the most?

Rudy, always Rudy. The others are sad too, but it's always Rudy that sticks in my mind. However, this time I was especially moved by Rosa's probably because so many of you reading this for the first time hated her in the beginning and I knew you would come around and so I was paying more attention to the Rosa parts and her actions and so when it described her end, and Liesel saying goodbye, that's when the tears came for me.

But, speaking of Rudy, I thought I'd share a little clip here. Here is Markus Zusak reading a bit from his book, about Rudy. Let's just say, he had us all holding our breaths. (P.S. If you want more of his speech that day, let me know and I'll send you links. Some of it's on YouTube, but much of it is "unlisted" because they weren't happy with me putting the whole thing up!)



 5. How did your view of Ilsa Herman change over the course of the book? 

She was amazing really. She has a beautiful soul, she GOT Leisel, maybe better than any other person in the book. That fact made me so happy. And I totally forgotten that they take care of her in the end. Wow. She is a really amazing character too.

6. The power of words is such a big theme throughout the book. Which instances of powerful words stuck out to you? Or, which quotes from the book stuck out to you?

I tried to tweet some of the quotes that stuck out. I succeeded sometimes and failed other times, but just for fun, here are the some of the quotes that I ended up tweeting, just in case you missed them!

"It kills me sometimes, how people die." "They were going to Dachau, to concentrate." "One was a book thief, the other stole the sky.""There were stars," he said. "They burned my eyes.""They were not sent there for a shower." "Better that we leave the paint behind," Hans told her, "than ever forget the music."”So many humans. So many colors.”"Like red rain clouds on the white-sky canvas at their feet." "Trust me, though, the words were on their way...""Liesel, upon seeing those eyes, understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot.""That's the sort of thing I'll never know or comprehend--what humans are capable of.""If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story.""I walked in, loosened his soul, and carried it gently away.""Here is a small fact. You are going to die."

7. In this post Markus Zusak says:

In many ways I felt that the book is about Liesel’s different kind of loves - for Hans, for Rosa, for Rudy and Max, and for books and living in general.

Which of those loves resonated with you most?


Interesting quote, because I always think that the power of words is what this book is so much about. But no, it really is about love, isn't it. I really don't know how to answer this question because each of those relationships are so powerful. I love them all!

8. Thoughts on Liesel and Death finally meeting? 

That is quite the hold your breath moment, isn't it? It's fun to have the scene played over again, after he (Death) mentions it in the beginning, because wow, it means so much more after you've learned who everyone is. And it's powerful that Liesel can recognize Death so well, and how he is stopped in his tracks because of it.

9. If this was your first time reading The Book Thief, is it what you expected? If it was a reread, what did you notice this time around?

I'm amazed at all the stuff I forget during each reading and how when I read it again, I'm like, oh YEAH! This time around I paid attention to the images that were painted, I slowed down and really pictured them in my mind. Amazing. Truly amazing.

10. Will you see the movie?

Of course! But after just finishing this book last night and how sad those scenes are, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to actually WATCH them. I'm going to need lots of Kleenex that's for sure.

Be sure to link up your answers over at Kathy's anytime this week!

Update: Another link to Markus Zusak answering the questions about why so much foreshadowing, and do Liesel and Max get married. It's worth a click over to listen!

A Book Thief Giveaway!

It's been an awesome fun read along! Thanks everyone for participating! To say thank you, we have a fun giveaway! The three of us have made "I am Haunted by humans" t-shirts for you... three different kinds and sizes, for three different winners!





To enter to win, fill out his form letting us know your thoughts about the book, and we'll pick three random winners. Good luck! And we'll see you at the next read along!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Catching Fire Movie Party


Hey all my bookish Utah friends! Did you hear we plan to have a Catching Fire movie party? Yes! Just like we did for Hunger Games when it came out! It's going to be on the evening of Thursday November 21.  Penelope from The Reading Fever is heading up the event and she needs to know by tomorrow night if you want to join us! All the details can be find on her blog here, including a PayPal payment method so she can go ahead and order the tickets, which go on sale Tuesday. Please go check it out and let us know if you want to be part of the fun! We had a great time last time, so I know you'll want to join us again!

Ripping and Pinning

RIPPING

Sounds like I've taking up quilting again, or something. And in fact, I want to. But that is not what this post is about. This is about signing up for things! More challenges! There's so much to do!


First of all, I'm sure you all know that Carl's RIP challenge is well under way. RIP VIII in fact. Wow, that's a long running challenge! But, since my September was totally book booked, I've decided to start my RIP in October and have just the one month to try and read one or two RIP-ish sort of books. (And if you have no idea what I'm talking about with all this RIPping, please head on over to Carl's Stainless Steel Droppings and read up on the details!)

So the books I'm hoping to read this month for this challenge are:

1. Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
2. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

And I'll probably do a bit of watching too, which means add this to the mix:


I would love to join in on the read along again, but I'm not going to fit in a re-read of the most awesome book, The Historian this month! Sadly! But if you, my readers, have an inkling to read that book, I encourage you to join the fun. Find out those details here at The Estella Society. You will love this book!

PINNING



Also going on this month is Trish's Pinning Challenge.... Pin It and Do It! I go in spurts with the pinning thing, and I feel like I'm currently on a spurt and have in fact pinned and done-d many things just in the last week.



Tomatillo Salsa

And coming up, I'm sure I'll be pinning and doing a lot more. My daughter wants so much to try some fun Halloween decorations, plus I need to harvest our "crop" and will find ways to do so in Pinterest, plus, maybe we'll start with some Christmas-ing too. Gasp. (P.S. You can find me on Pinterest here. Beware my boards.)

So... onto ripping and pinning. Let's get busy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: Blackout by Robison Wells

Book: Blackout by Robison Wells
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Supernatural
Rating:★★★★☆ (or 3 1/2 if I could)
For: Review
From: Edelweiss (released Oct. 1, 2013)


A new series (I'm assuming series since the book left us very much hanging!) by the author of Variant and Feedback, which takes us this time to a very recent apocalyptic America. In fact, if apocalyptic means AFTER a devastating event, I guess you'd have to say this is not apocalyptic because it takes place WHILE the event is actually getting going, and in a really crazy way.

So it appears that during this time, terrorist attacks are happening constantly...like major devastating things. The book opens with one in progress where they are hoping to collapse the Glen Canyon Dam. And, it appears these attacks are being done by kids. Something has gone really really wrong with the country's teenagers.

We then flip to another group of kids whose school dance is interrupted by the army coming and rounding them all up and taking them to some detox center to be tested and categorized because it appears that some kids have been infected with something that makes them suddenly have super powers.

Eventually, the paths of these two groups of kids collide and that's when we aren't sure who are the good guys and who are the bad. I love it when that happens. And these kids must figure that out and figure out who to trust and figure out how they will get themselves out of the mess they find themselves in.

It's crazy!

I totally enjoyed  it despite the military and gun talk that abounded. Many kids, I'm sure, will find that talk fascinating, but I found myself with the glazed over eyes in parts and anxious to just get to the other stuff, the character stuff. Also, there were a lot of questions that remain unanswered. This, I don't like!

However, a truly fun thing for me was that much of this book takes place right here in little old Utah, so picturing the scene and setting was really awesome and easy for me.

Bottom line: It was a fun and crazy ride!

Other Reviews:

It was a fun and fast read with a great premise. From Dark Faerie Tales

I'm just not a big fan of being strung along and still left so largely in the dark by the end of the story. That being said, the entire book kept me sucked in and I honestly couldn't put it down. From A Book Obsession

I'm hoping that its sequel vastly improves upon itself as far as story goes or at the very least moves the plot along at a quicker pace. From Blood, Sweat and Books

My ultimate favourite character was Jack. His personality was flawed without exceptions, yet his faith and simplicity were in great contrast to the general mood of Blackout which made him stand out. From YA Midnight Reads

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Book: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Genre: NA Romance (or is it YA? These kids are still in high school!)
Rating:★★★☆☆
For: Review
From: NetGalley (released October 1, 2013)

This is the story about two kids who are thrown together a bit accidentally. He ends coming to life with his step mom at her dad's house. The step mom has a sister just his age! They are instantly attracted to each other, but given the circumstance, they know that it just can't be. Besides, she has boyfriend already. And so, instead, they end up annoying and bugging the crap out of each other.

An interesting thing about her... she plays football. And when her boyfriend, the star quarterback, defects to the other team, her team is left lacking and in need. And I wonder if the new dude is the answer to that question. But he doesn't play football too, does he?

I totally enjoyed the tension and conflict between these two. I loved he was from Texas and I no problem envisioning the drawl and the cowboy boots and jeans! :) I love that he was sort of a bad boy, but not. And that she was sort of a tom boy, but not.

In the end, I felt the story was fun but nothing totally wonderful that really stood out to me. As usual and to no one's surprise I'm sure, I have issues with the choices these kids make and the situations they put themselves into, and once again, the lack of parental involvement. It's crazy, you know!?

Bottom line: A steamy, tension filled romance that borders on NA, even if it's supposed to really be YA.

Other Reviews:

If I want something sweet, I read Sarah Dessen. If I want something more cerebral, I read John Green. And when I want something steamy, who else to turn to but Simone Elkeles? From Anna Reads

Both are so vulnerable especially when it comes to admitting real feelings and I found it to be raw but it was never overdone and never over the top! From Bewitched Bookworms

I found myself wishing I had started it earlier in the day, because I did NOT want to put it down! From Proud Book Nerd

This was a steamy young adult contemporary with fun characters, laugh out loud moments, and a heartfelt story. From Dark Faerie Tales

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Concert Review: Muse


This past week I was lucky enough to get to see Muse in concert... again. It was my third time seeing them, and at first, I was thinking, ah, do I really need to go this time? But my daughter has turned into quite the fan and begged for us to get tickets. So I thought, whatever, create the memories!

Well, after waiting nearly an hour to be let in the arena, and then another hour before the opening band started, and then yet another hour of hearing them play and waiting for the stage to change, I was beginning to wonder was I glad to be there?

As soon as Muse hit that first note, let me tell you, I was glad to be there! Oh my word, these guys are good! The energy is over the top awesome, their songs are incredible, their talent is amazing! All of it. So so good. 

However, I do have to say, you must like loud to enjoy this show. And lost of visual stimulation. It's crazy loud! Like pretty much the loudest thing you'll ever hear. I wish could describe the loudness. There's no way. So if loud scares you, be warned of the Muse concert!

I took our new camera and had fun trying to take pictures and videos. We were sitting way to the side, so we got some pretty interesting perspectives. However, Muse's shows are so full of lasers and lights that in sitting so far to the side we lost some of the effect of that. But in choosing between the laser light show and getting a good glimpse of the guys themselves, I think I choose the guys. How about you?

So anyway, here's some of my favorite pictures we ended up with.


Matt singing Supremacy

The first pumping, head banging crowd

Chris, the most awesome bass player EVER!
I'm in awe of him.

This was our non zoomed in view.

Matt and Chris, look at those expressions!

When Matt plays the piano, it blows me away!
Butterflies and Hurricanes

Love this shot!
Singing Follow Me

Matt and Chris again!

Chris singing his own song, Liquid State.
With the crowd in the background
Love that shot!

And Dom with the sweat just rolling off him!
We tried to make a montage video, but YouTube already blocked it, so here are a few single songs that took and uploaded.

This was the opening number and then it went straight into Supermassive and the crowd went wild!


This one gives me chills and then when it goes into Chris on the bass for Hysteria... there are no words.



One of my favorite new songs is Follow Me, and then also you can get a glimpse here of Chris singing one of his new songs... this album is the first time he's had a couple of his own songs. So cool.



Well, it gives you some idea any way, but definitely not how loud it was! :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels


So in doing this list today, I have thought of second books only... actual sequels, even if they are part of a bigger series. Know what I mean?

Anyway, often the second book disappoints especially when the first book is so so good. These books, for me, did NOT disappoint.

Ten of My Favorite Sequels

1.Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
2. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
3. The Queen of Atolia by Megan Whalen Turner
4. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
5. Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman
6. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingells  Wilder
7. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
10. The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

What books are your favorite sequels? Be sure to head on over to the Broke and the Bookish and link up your list!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Club Report: The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale


Oh my word! Did we ever have the most rousing book club last week... EVER! And I've been doing this a LONG time! (Tenth anniversary for book club coming up soon! I need to plan a party!)

Yes, this book caused a LOT of feelings to surface and we started out with a bang and the momentum continued for quite awhile. And so many people came too! (I think there were 12 of us all together.) And everyone had something to say and a fairly strong opinion. Imagine us all talking and nearly yelling, all at once! Whew. It was intense! I loved it!!

So, for those of you not familiar with this book, here's a quick summary. (And my original review of the book here if you are interested.) We have Becky, a mom of four kids living her quiet and simple Mormon life in Utah when one day, she sells a screenplay and goes to LA for some business about that and who does she run into there? None other than her Hollywood crush! And over a period of time, even years, they become very good friends. Like.. .REALLY good friends.

What does this do to her relationship to her husband? And the actor's wife? And is it possible to just be friends? And if circumstances are such that they could actually be together... then what?

Well. Let me just say that as Mormon wives and mothers living here in Utah, this books strikes a big chord. I'm wondering if it does so outside our religious culture. If you have knowledge of this, let me know! Does it make book club ladies crazy in other states and other religions? Tell us!

Anyway. We had fun pondering the following questions:

  • So, CAN men and women "just" be friends? Someone said her husband said that for guys, this is not really possible. And even if you could just be friends, what does that do to the relationship with your spouse? And even if it can be all innocent and platonic, what about the emotional reliance you give to that person? We decided no, this is not a good thing. It crosses a line.
  • Were we very much manipulated throughout the story? So many things conveniently happen. So many things are so very unrealistic to real life. So many things just would NOT, could not happen. But in this story, every thing happens to make it mess with us in a big way. Is this right? Or is this just story telling? How far can a fictional book go with the manipulation before it makes you crazy?
  • Is the wife relate-able? When I read this the first time, I thought so. It almost felt like reading about my own life, minus a few things. But the book club ladies said  NO WAY JOSE!! This lady is so far from the "normal" mom that that it made them, nearly all of them in fact, want to chuck the book at the wall. This Becky was too perfect, making pies and cleaning house and looking good and having an actor fall in love with her. No way. 
  • And they all agreed that the portrayal of Mormon life and culture made us look way too weird. Weirder than we already are! Some stuff was okay, but other stuff was just not right at all. 
  • Many people used the words "retarded" and "disappointed" and "angry" to describe how they felt about this book. However, there was a couple (one maybe) that loved it and several that had no feelings whatsoever about it. Take it or leave it they said.
  • However, we did have fun imagining what it would be like to be friends with our Hollywood crush! Some names that we threw out for possibilities: Matt Bomer, Zachary Levi, Johnny Depp, Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor, Josh Groban :), Richard Armitage, Ryan Gosling, and I can't remember who else! But we do know, almost for a fact, that Shannon Hale had Colin Firth in mind when writing this book. So there you go.

Bottom line: In my humble opinion, a book is good by the very definition that it strikes up strong emotions in the reader, be those positive or negative ones. If that is the case, this book is really good! At any rate, if you haven't read it yet and are looking for a good book club discussion book, check this one out and then let us know what you think!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bloggiesta Wrap Up: Random Thought Edition


Here are my random thoughts about this past Bloggiesta weekend:


  • I really notice that I miss reading during a Bloggiesta weekend.
  • I managed to do many of my main tasks!
  • I had fun writing and scheduling posts this time around.
  • Mostly I found myself distracted by trying to make Muse videos to share with you in a post coming up on Wednesday. But it was fun. You'll watch them, right?
  • Hosting the chats is fun, but a lot of pressure too, I'm not sure why.
  • It feels weird to get out of normal life by saying, "sorry, I have to chat on the computer!"
  • I did a terrible job of visiting other blogs. Makes me sad.
  • We had the big rival football game right in the middle of all the Bloggiesta festivities. My team lost. :(
  • But I did make some most awesome brownies. You can find the pin here.
  • Remember Weekly Geeks? I'm going to revive some of those posts for future post ideas. This makes me happy. This is a result of my brainstorming. 
  • Also in the middle of the weekend we had another Book Thief discussion and chat and we even trended though there were only a few of us chatting! Loving this read along! 
  • And... now I feel like I might be getting sick. I can't even remember the last time I was sick. Dang.
I think that's all. I hope to see you all next Bloggiesta! Be sure to link up your wrap up posts and to fill out the survey form.

Fifty Bookish Things To Do Before I Die!

I've loved this idea ever since I saw it at the last Bloggiesta (at least I think that's when I saw it!) I've been thinking and pondering my list ever since! And now it's an official Bloggiesta challenge hosted by Allison of The Book Wheel, so be sure to go and check it out and start on your own list!

This is a concept that she (Allison) and Rebecca (from Love at First Book) started awhile back and have since been encouraging the rest of us to make our own lists. For an idea of what these lists look like, here's Allison's and here's Rebecca's.

In pondering my list, I've come to realize that I've actually been working on doing these things for years (most of them since I've started blogging,) working form a list in my head and not actually writing them down. So as I now make the effort to write them down, I wanted to include some of the things I've already done, especially those things that weren't easy for me... the ones that got me out of my comfort zone! I need credit for these!


Bookish Things To Do Before I Die


Already Accomplished
(where it applies, I've linked to the proof!)

1.start a book club
2. host a read along (I've done a few now, but currrenlty this one!)
3. host a week long celebration of some kind on my blog
4. meet Markus Zusak
5. make blog business cards/bookmarks
6. connect with local authors
7. work at a library
8. be on a blogger panel
9. host a blog event (Bloggiesta!)
10. have get-togethers with bloggers IRL (the most recent here)
11. write real letters to book bloggers
12. meet book bloggers in other states (still in progress)
13. create a library corner in my house
14. run the book fair
15. compile my grandparents life stories
16. go to book signings
17. make bookish themed t-shirts

Yet To Accomplish

18. do a vlog
19. participate in World Book Night
20. put on a Utah book bloggers conference
21. go to ComicCon
22. succeed in The Classics Club quest
23. go to BEA
24. visit famous bookstores around the country/world (in progress)
25. visit famous literary sites around the country/world (in progress)
26. host a book themed party
27. write thank you notes to authors (actually I've done one, guess who to?)
28. be blurbed for a book or magazine or newspaper
29. plan and carry out a reading/blogging retreat
30. get a review published
31. collect different editions of Markus Zusak's books
32. participate in NaNoWriMo
33. meet John Green
34. finish the Wheel of Time series
35. read the books listed in the Lifetime Reading Plan
36. read the books listed in 1001 books to read before you die
37. create a meme that becomes popular and well loved
38. try an audio book
39. start a mother/daughter/father/son/parent/teen book club, maybe online?
40. write my own life essays then compile them
41. write out some of my grandparents' stories as a fiction story
42. write a picture book
43. write a novel
44. make some bookish crafts and give them away as presents
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.

Yeah, so I guess I have a few blanks to fill in there. Suggestions? What else do I need to be doing? Well, It will come to me eventually and I'll see all your lists and copy a few things over I'm sure!

Anyway, it'll be fun to see if actually writing them down will make me want to get some of them done.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Book Thief Read Along Discussion Two: Parts 4-6


Yesterday Kami posted these questions for discussion on parts 4 through 6 of our Book Thief Read Along. Here are my answers!

1. What emotions have you felt while reading? Are they strong emotions?

worry, frustration, sadness, beauty, love, anger, dread, fear, determination, etc. All strong, yes. Very strong.

2. Several characters mention similarities between Max and Liesel. What similarities have you noticed, and why do you think the author made these characters relate to each other?

They are both refugees, having to leave their homes and families and trust in other people. They are both lonely and sad and smart and scared and hopeful.

3. What do you think of The Standover Man aka the book Max wrote for Liesel.

Ah, sad and awesome and powerful! It really makes you feel what Max must be feeling.... and such a simple way. That's what I love about this book, powerful things said simply.

4. How do you feel about knowing who is going to die in the end and what are some of your predictions?

Well, it causes a major sense of dread. And hope, that maybe Death is wrong somehow and something else will REALLY happen, not the thing predicted.

5. What do you think of Rudy's rebellious attitude? 

He is a crazy boy and desperate to have some control over anything in his life.

6. Is Rosa growing on you?

Yes, of course! She not as bad as she seems. Deep inside, she is as loving as Hans I think.

7. What do you think of the relationship between Max and Liesel?

Like brother and sister. Whoever thought they should get together is crazy I think.

8. Why do you think Liesel is so determined to steal from the Mayor's library?

It gives her a little bit of control over her life too. And revenge against the wife who somehow makes Liesel mad in her submitting to the horrors of life and giving up on her fighting spirit.

9. What really stands out to you in the story and why?

They thing that always stands out to me is the powerful word manipulation that makes the images we are reading about so very strong in our minds. The writing is amazing and because of the deep subject matter, the two together make this the brilliant book that it is.

10. If you were in Hans' position, would you have helped/hid Max?

I hope to think so. I don't know, it's hard to know what you would do, especially if you have your own family to project. But yes, I really would hope so.


I've fallen a little behind in my reading and need to catch up before it's too late! Loving the re-read though!

Be sure to join us for a Book Thief chat tonight at 7 pm Mountain time! Hashtag #bookthief.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Bloggiesta To Do List


It's Bloggiesta time! Hopefully a there's lots of you joining in the fun and making time to work on your blogs this weekend. For all the details about Bloggiesta and to sign up to participate, be sure and check out the starting line post here.

As for me, here's what I hope to accomplish this weekend:

  • update my archive links, as always!
  • pin some reviews, as always!
  • print my blogs and put them in binders
  • host a couple of Twitter chats
  • ponder a new idea for a header
  • do at least a couple of mini challenges
  • visit lots of new blogs and catch up on old ones
  • catch up on reviews
  • brainstorm for ideas
This weekend is turning out to be very busy, so we'll see how it goes! Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Master To Do List!


Welcome to the "Master To Do List" Mini Challenge!

One of the suggestons we had after the last Bloggiesta was that perhaps a "master" or standard to do list be created. A list that includes all the basic things that we all seem to have on our lists each and every Bloggiesta. A list that newbies, or stressed out participants can just "grab and go" with!

I thought I could tackle that challenge and so here's what I've come up with:

A Bloggiesta Master To Do List!

❏  write two reviews
❏  update link lists and archive lists
❏  update Goodreads reviews
❏  clean up labels/tags
❏  do two mini challenges
❏  change or fix one thing on your sidebar
❏  add a page (about me, contact, policy, etc)
❏  change one thing on your layout and/or look
❏  comment on other Bloggiesta partipants blogs
❏  participate in at least one Twitter chat


Hopefully you all agree that this list is full of good basic Bloggiesta tasks that we almost all do every time this event rolls around. So feel free to snag this list and go for it. Add to it, delete something, etc, but go ahead an use it to jump start your own To Do List.

And that is your challenge for this mini challenge! Grab the list and get working!

But I would love to know if how this worked for you, so give me some feedback in comments!

Book Review: Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher

Book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Genre: YA
Rating:★★★★☆
For: Banned Books Week
From: Amazon (I think) years ago

It's been a long time that I've wanted to read this book. And now, finally, for Banned Books Week (which actually starts next week, but is being celebrated this week by Sheila from Book Journey) I had that chance!


Yes, next week is Banned Books Week, and you know what that means. It means we all jump on the BANNED Wagon and sing the praises of books that for some reason or another have been challenged or banned from schools or libraries or other such places. But mostly we shout for joy for the very freedom we have to read, and to read whatever we want. It's an awesome freedom and one we should never take for granted.

This book, Thirteen Reason Why, has been challenged (not sure if anybody actually banned it) because it deals with many many tough subjects. The biggest one, suicide. I guess some people believe that we shouldn't read about tough subjects. And because of our freedoms, they don't have to, but some of us figure we can learn by reading about such things. And therefore learn how to better our lives in some way.

The thing I learned from this book, and the thing I think all teenagers should learn if they do read this book, is please please please talk to other kids. Be their friend. Don't judge. Don't believe rumors. Be nice to each other. Respect each other. If you have a feeling that you are needed by someone, act on it. Don't ignore the gut or the heart telling you what you should do.

Yeah, good things to learn from a book about a hard thing.

Most of you have probably already read this one, but just in case, it's about a girl who commits suicide. Before she goes, she leaves a set of tapes telling her reasons why... detailing the line up of events that caused her to feel hopeless. Each of these tapes are addressed to different people she had contact with who influenced this decision in some way. When the main boy in the book gets them, he is devastated. So we follow him through the listening of all the tapes, going back and forth from the girl telling her story, to him dealing with it. It was a very interesting writing device to use, and one that took me awhile to get used to. It was two first person points of view and I had to really concentrate to remember who was doing the talking at the time. (Italics were used to help us, but it still gave me a bit of reader whiplash!)

Anyway, the story is a sad one. I felt mostly for the boy who wished so bad he could go back in time and help this girl. The girl, I think she gave up way way too quickly and she made me mad because of that. There were people in her life she could turn to and she just didn't. This boy being one of them. So yeah, it was kind of weird being mad at her, but that's just how I felt!

Bottom line: I'm finally glad to have read this powerful book that makes an important statement... look out for each other and be friends!

Other Reviews:

I do not agree with the hype. The book is stupidly written, and will bore adults (unless they think like fifteen year olds). From Rivers I Have Known

Read this book, it just might change your life, too. It might make you think about your daily actions in a new way. From Dear Author

Asher does an amazing job of grabbing the reader from the opening line and not letting go ~ ever. I highly recommend this novel to every teenager, parent, teacher, or anyone else who works with teens. From The Novel Life

We need to teach kids that they can overcome anything. We need to empower them to face and solve their problems, not give up and run away. From The Literate Mother

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A to Z Book Survey


I've seen this survey making the rounds lately, but I think it started with Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, the queen of survey making! And so, since it's been awhile since I've done this sort of thing, and since I need a post for today, it's survey time!!

A uthor you’ve read the most books from: back in the day I read a ton of Orson Scott Card and also Anya Setton. Not sure any author has caught up to them yet (not counting re-reads of course.)

B est Sequel Ever: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

C urrently Reading: Just started Blackout by Robison Wells (released Oct. 1)


D rink of Choice While Reading: I've never understood this. Drinking and reading don't go together in my head. Now, reading and SNACKING maybe... like on M and M's or something! :)

E -reader or Physical Book? Okay, I love them both. Seriously. Gasp, did I just say that?

F ictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School: Joe from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nielson, Gideon from My Big Nose... by Sydney Salter, Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.... just to name a few!

G lad You Gave This Book A Chance: The Thief (and its sequels) by Megan Whalen Turner

H idden Gem Book: Coop by Michael Perry

I mportant Moment in your Reading Life: When I started blogging. Wow, things have never been the same.

J ust Finished: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

K inds of Books You Won’t Read: erotica... other than that, there's not much I won't read.

L ongest Book You’ve Read: I'm not sure... but I think it's The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson which clocks in at 1,258 pages. Boy and those pages flew by.

M ajor book hangover because of: Poison Study by Marie V. Synder

N umber of Bookcases You Own: Are you kidding me? In the whole house? Let me count.....18 is what I come up with! Wow. Who knew?

O ne Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I've lost track how many times now.

P referred Place To Read: The couch for sure.

Q uote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: 

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.” 
― Markus ZusakI Am the Messenger

R eading Regret: That I "hid" my love for books and reading for so long. I'm glad I've come out now!

S eries You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series): There are SOOO many! But The Mortal Instruments series comes to mind. Are all the books out? I think so.

T hree of your All-Time Favorite Books: The Book Thief, Pride and Prejudice and The Name of the Wind.

U napologetic Fangirl For: Hello. Markus Zusak of course!

V ery Excited for This Release More Than All the Others: Probably Patrick Rothfuss's next book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. I have no idea what its name is going to be, or when it will be out.

W orst Bookish Habit: Laying books down... open... when I'm in a hurry and will "be right back" and don't have time for the bookmark!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: I'm going with Run by Ann Patchett... need to read!

Y our latest book purchase:
Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Z ZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Whew! That was fun! Now... it's your turn!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2013 TBR


Here's what I hope to read in the next month or so:

1. Blackout by Robison Wells
2. Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
3. Bellman and Black by Diana Setterfield
4. Fiesta of Smoke by Suzan Still
5. Feliciti Found by Julia King
6. Defy by Sarah Larson
7. Longing for Home by Sarah Eden
8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
9. Agnes Grey (a re-read) by Anne Bronte
10. The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by Joseph B├ędier and Hilaire Belloc

AND

11. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
12. Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
13. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
14. Hood by Stephen Lawhead
15.  The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
16. Just One Year by Gayle Forman

....AND.... I don't know what else! But I'm feeling a bit of a panic attack coming on because the year is nearly over and...and...and... there's so much that needs reading before the next year starts!

Some of the above are for reviews and blog tours that I agreed to, and some are because they've been sitting on my nightstand for months patiently waiting their turn, and some are for book club and some are for challenges that I wanted to actually attempt this year, and some are by auto-read authors and some are new releases that I just can't wait for! Most are books I already have, but some are books I hope to get before too long.

I can't wait! So, here's wishing me luck!

What does your fall reading look like? Head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and link up today!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Book: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Genre: a "proper" romance!
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun (supporting local authors too)
From: Bought at launch party just last week

I must admit, I was a little nervous about this book. Mostly, because several reading/blogging friends have read it already and said...."yeah, it's good but not as good as Edenbrooke."

So, I was nervous!

But I'm happy to say now that actually, I think I liked it BETTER than Edenbrooke!

True, Edenbrooke had all that fun bantering and wittiness from our main characters. That was awesome fun. And we had a new blooming romance, which is awesome fun too.

But in Blackmoore we have a long time friendship that turns into romance, which I've always been a fan of. And we have a sort of dark and mysterious house (namely Blackmoore) complete with secret passages, set on the foggy and slightly creepy moors, which gives this book a delicious Gothic feel...something else I'm also a big fan of.

Yes, this story was more serious and less fluff, which I like and makes me get into it on a deeper level. There are secrets, and manipulations and crass moms and unfeeling friends and... did I say secrets? There's a secret so terrible that it sets the course for the whole book.

By way of summary, we have our heroine, Kate, who wants two things very badly, first, to visit Blackmoore, the sort of "vacation" home of her childhood friends Henry and Sylvia, and second, to go to India with her aunt. Her mom, however, only wants her to get married and to marry well at that. However, Kate has vowed to never ever ever get married. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn exactly why.

So, they make a little bargain, and Kate hopes that she will win this sort of "bet" while she is at Blackmoore and in the end, go to India. So off to Blackmoore she goes with high hopes.

Things aren't as peachy there as she expected. After awhile, all she wants is to get out of the deal she made with her mom and just go to India and forget everyone and everything. But of course it's not going to be that easy, not by a long shot. Let's just say things get way worse before they ever get better.

Have I mentioned the romance yet? In comparison to Edenbrooke, I thought the tension and chemistry were much more intense in this one, which I of course, liked very much. Yes, they didn't banter as much, but the steaminess was heavy! They put themselves in a situation that causes all sorts of feelings and sparks. It was awesome and awful at the same time!

Bottom line: I loved it. I love this author's style and I love how she presents these stories. I am a fan for the long haul! Bring it on!

Other Reviews:

It is an easy, fun, romantic read. And who doesn’t need one of those every once in a while? From The Bluestocking Society

Thanks to Julianne for helping me out of a reading funk and for keeping me on the road of Regency Romance with clean content. From Fire and Ice

The ending was not what I was expecting, either, and I absolutely loved it!! From Mel's Shelves

Blackmoore is an enthralling, heart-twisting romance with a depth that I greatly appreciated. From LDS Women's Book Review

Everything about this book is beautiful. The story, the setting, the characters, even the not so nice ones. From Min Reads and Reviews




Sunday, September 15, 2013

Currently: Blackberry Season!

C U R R E N T L Y

(as written on Sunday Afternoon)

Listening

This very moment I'm listening to Michael Ball. Many of you will know him as Marius in Les Misererables back a few years ago. He has a beautiful voice. I especially love it when he sings, Love Changes Everything.


Watching

We rented Dr. Who season seven, part one (which was just five episodes) and watched those this past week or so. Wow. That episode five is a KILLER! Weepy weepy weepy! Now, I need to find the rest of that season, and I'll be all caught up and ready for the new doctor!


I'v watched a couple more Buffy episodes too. I don't know, it's just not grabbing me and making me want to finish them up!

I started watching North and South because of all Kami's tweets this week. Only got through half of the first episode, but I'm wanting to watch more.


Reading

Having fun with The Book Thief read along. I have to only read a bit at a time or I'd fly right through our assignment and onto the end! It's very fun reading it with so many who are going through it for the first time.

I also blasted through Blackmoore after getting that book at the launch party last week. Review tomorrow I hope. And now I've started 13 Reason Why for Banned Books Week, though I'm not sure that book was every banned, but definitely challenged.

Anyway, the reading life is good right now. I love it when that happens.

Blogging

Guys! It's Bloggiesta this weekend! Please come and participate! So that's my blogging focus this week. You'll see my plans posted on Friday and I'll have a little challenge, a basic easy simple one. So stay tuned for that.

Also, as part of Bloggiesta, I hope to post my "50 Bookish Things To Do Before I Die" list. So hopefully you'll find that interesting.

And, I'm thinking of doing a "state of the blog" post because I've  been seeign many long time bloggers talk about their feelings on blogging this week, and I'm thinking of adding my two cents. Yes? No?

Eating

I made three blackberry pies yesterday and another several batches of jam. That's because we went and picked nearly 16 pounds of them at our friends farm yesterday. I have yet to EAT said pie, so we'll see later if it turns out good or not. Maybe I'll instagram a picture.

My daughter is selling chocolate bars for a fund raiser this week, so I've a feeling that I'll be quite tempted and see much chocolate eating in my future. Awesome.

Oh, and I made banana chip cookies this week too. Had some bananas that needed using! That picture WAS instragrammed, and I'm too lazy to go it and post it here!

Miscellaneous

  • The weather has cooled down. Sweet! So happy!
  • School is in full swing, let the homework stress begin!
  • My daughter quit dance. That was out of the blue after 11 years.
  • My other daughter practiced taking our vital signs the other day. That was... fun.
  • Muse is this week! Excited and nervous!!
  • And so, I guess that's all that's new-ish around here. Happy New Week!



Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review: Pieces by Michelle D. Argyle

Book: Pieces by Michelle D. Argyle
Genre: NA Romance
Rating:★★★☆☆
For: Fun
From: Bought at an author signing

After reading The Breakaway last month for Utah Book Month, I knew it wouldn't be long before I had to pick up the sequel, which I had waiting, to find out how this character resolves her issues. Beware, spoilers for the first book ahead!!

So, as you know from my review of the first book, the main character, Naomi, was kidnapped, suffered from Stockholm Syndrome and falls in love with one of her kidnappers. Then...

SPOILER ALERT (for the first book)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
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....she escapes (well is let go) and bam the book ends. So. We are left wondering, how does she get on with her life after that? Is she okay? Does she get together with the kidnapper dude (Jesse)? Or is he too messed up?

Yes, many questions, thus the mission of this second book. To answer them all! And the books does a great job of this. Naomi is still pretty messed up and confused and sad and very much still in love with Jesse. But, is Jesse a good guy or a bad one? Big big question. So some stuff happens and everything seems to shift. Whiplash! But in a good way!

Anyway, that's about all I can say without giving away everything for this second book. But once again, let my just say that as a mom, this book made me crazy. I have a daughter the very same age as Naomi and had she done what Naomi does in this book I would have freaked. FREAKED I tell you. How do fictional mom's handle all the crazy things their kids do? Well, Naomi's mom does have her own issues, but still. It seems fictional parents are all always... whatever... about what their kids are doing. Weird.

In the end, I was thoroughly satisfied with the wrap up this book provided. It was nice, and good and well done. Yay for that!

Bottom line: A great second book to give closure, but not quite as engaging and page turning as the first. (That being said, I pretty much devoured the second half in one sitting!)

Other Reviews:

PIECES is a great look at what happens after a person has experienced a tumultuous situation and the way s/he must re-integrate with the nuances of daily life. From A Backwards Story

I enjoyed Pieces a lot more than I did The Breakaway. I also liked Naomi's character a lot better in this book. From Always YA at Heart

Naomi was a terrific protagonist. I grew to care for her throughout the book and she was easy to relate too. From Unforgettable Books

An emotional journey about moving on and finding the strength to make changes. From Some Like It Paranormal

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blackmoore Launch Party!


We had a great time at yet another launch party the other night. This one for Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson, she who also wrote Edenbrooke which is well loved around these parts. And now I'm all into Blackmoore and anxious to keep reading and see what happens! It's quite different from Edenbrooke though, but I like that. I wouldn't want them all to be the same.

Anyway, so we showed up at The King's English bookshop, bought our books and marched on into the gallery where the event was to take place. There seemed to be a sort of line outside, which Jenni decided to go and mingle amongst. But Kami and I went on in. Later, we realized that it actually WAS a line, and we had just somehow slipped on by the cute little bouncer at the door and barged right on in before the setting up people were ready for us!
Waiting inside while the actual line was outside!

So inside, we stood there awkwardly wishing the thing would just start already. But we did get to see the author getting her picture taken with two cute boys dressed up as the romantic heroes of her books. That's got to be a little weird actually. And we watched them get things all ready, but they weren't setting up chairs. Usually for these things, there's chairs and you sit and listen to the author do a little spiel. And it's fun and enlightening and cool.
Julianne getting her picture taken with "Philip" and "Henry"!

But there was nothing like that! Instead, when they let all the people in, it was like a reception! And we were expected to mingle! What? Me mingle!? I don't mingle! So, more awkwardness! Kami and Jenni, also Carrie formerly of Stalking the Bookshelves, did corner the cute boys and had them take pictures with them. I passed on the experience, feeling extremely awkward (can you see I'm using this word a lot this post!) in my old middle age-ness, or something. Mostly, I just hate pictures. Like, for really.

Kami and the boys

Carrie and the boys

Jenni and the boys

Amway, then we finally were formed into a line to get our books signed. While waiting, we nibbled on English scones, where were quite yummy. Then we meet the author, and how cute does she look! She makes a perfect Regency lady! I loved it. And we took another picture.
Julianne Donaldson

Jenni, Kami, Julianne, Suey

She was very cute and sweet, but seemed so overwhelmed and like a deer in headlights. You could tell this was a new experience for her and she was quite... yeah... overwhelmed! So that was interesting and different from most of the authors we meet. Hopefully she ended up having fun when it was all said and done!

So, yes. It was a very different sort of launch party. I was disappointed we didn't get a little speech from the author. But maybe she was just too scared to do that this time. However, can I just say, I love her books! Really, like, a lot. So I hope she keeps up this trend!

Now, which author event is next? I can't remember, but I know, there's a TON of them coming up! Sweet!

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